Our favourite forest walks in the UK

Our favourite forest walks in the UK

Today is International Day of Forests, and we wanted to celebrate by sharing with you some of our favourite forest hikes in the UK.

Sometimes forests are overlooked by hillwalkers and hikers. Sure, the views might not be as dramatic and spectacular as from the top of Snowden - but there’s beauty, serenity, and adventure in trekking through a woodland. 

That’s why the United Nations (UN) established International Day of Forests back in 2013. To celebrate and raise awareness of forests, which face massive deforestation every year on a scale of around 13 million hectares. That’s about the size of the whole of England.

So why not take the chance to appreciate our nation’s gorgeous woodland on your next adventure? Here’s some of our favourites.

Ingleton Waterfalls, Yorkshire Dales

This year-round attraction is nature at its finest. The Ingleton Waterfall Trail takes you through gorgeous oak woodland and past spectacular waterfalls, on a four and half mile trail which is approachable for beginner and expert hillwalkers alike.

With bluebells and celandine flowers dotting the trail, and the peaceful rush of streams and waterfalls filling your ears, you’ll be hard pressed to find a spot more attractive than here.

Whilst the trail follows a well defined footpath, some sections are uneven and slippery, particularly during wet weather. And for those looking to explore off the beaten path, you might want to trek elsewhere - visitors are encouraged to stick to the trail as it passes through dangerous areas with steep falls and tricky terrain.

But don’t let all of that discourage you - Ingleton Waterfalls is one of the most rewarding walks in the country. Just make sure to bring appropriate footwear and a waterproof jacket!

Wistman’s Wood, Dartmoor

Wistman’s Wood is one of the highest oakwoods in Britain, with trees reaching up to 25 feet. It’s also steeped in history; in its current form, it’s estimated to be hundreds of years old. But it’s also likely a left-over from the last Ice Age when woodland covered Dartmoor.

With that context, it’s one of the most magical walks in the UK. Alongside the towering trees, there’s lichens, ferns, and mosses coating rocks and boulders, and watchful birds populating the high altitude oaks. It makes for a fairytale-like journey.

This is an uphill area, so appropriate footwear is required. This also means that the weather is prone to sudden change, so you might want to bring some clothes which are suitable for all weather conditions.

Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire

We talked about Hardcastle Crags in our recommendations for Summer walks, but we love it so much that we couldn’t wait to talk about it again.

Hardcastle Crags is a major beauty spot in the South Pennines, with over 400 acres of woodlands. There’s a variety of branching footpaths here, so if you like to explore and lose yourself in nature, it’s a perfect place to visit.

If you’re a wildlife lover, this is an area populated by birds, beetles, insects, aquatic life, and roe deer. 

There’s some steep inclines depending on the path you choose, however the trails themselves are typically well-marked and trodden. Consider making the walk to Gibson Mill for a refreshing drink and snack, as well as a scenic lake surrounded by gorgeous greenery.

Sandringham Estate, Norfolk

Want to feel like royalty? Sandringham Estate is regularly used by the Royal Family, however between April and October the house and gardens are open to the public.

But we’re hillwalkers at heart, and as gorgeous as the estate is as a backdrop, it’s the woodland around it which most excites us. Planted with a wide variety of trees from oak to birch, Sandringham Estate has two waymarked nature trails depending on whether you’re looking for a more casual or challenging walk. There’s also a number of other branching paths if you’re looking to explore a bit more on your own.

The forest is on a flat gradient, so it’s highly accessible and the main nature trails are well maintained and easy to follow. Because of this you’ll just need clothes to suit the weather, and a pair of regular trainers or boots should be enough to get you round the circular trails.

Uath Lochans, Scotland

The Uath Lochans is a collection of four lochs nestled within an ancient forest in the Cairngorms National Park.

These lochs are interconnected by a series of streams and paths, offering hillwalkers a number of options depending on if they’re looking for a more casual stroll or a challenging hike. Either way, you’ll be exposed to tall pines and diverse flora and fauna. 

Scotland is one of the most popular destinations for hillwalkers, and with good reason. It’s a diverse country, with enormous mountains, gigantic lakes, and scenic woodlands. Uath Lochans is special in that it contains everything you want from a Scottish hike in one place; not just one but four lochs, a forest trail, and a backdrop of the Cairngorms mountain range.

That means you’ll need to be prepared for all sorts of terrain. Bring strong and sturdy footwear, a waterproof jacket, and some walking pants which will keep you warm and comfortable.

Ystradfellte Four Waterfalls Walk, Wales

We wanted to end on a dramatic note - and what’s more dramatic than a waterfall? Well, this trail has four of them.

The Four Waterfalls Walk takes you along riverside trails and woodland gorges, with the crescendo of each walk being a roaring waterfall which will take your breath away. You can even walk behind the curtain of water on some of them, which is an experience you don’t want to miss.

The waterfalls aren’t the only sight to see, however. You’ll also be treated to stunning views of the surrounding mountains, as well as fauna and flora creating a beautiful atmosphere which feels fully alive.

It’s not too challenging of a walk, but you’ll want to bring appropriate footwear for some of the paths which can be slippery and rough. Plus, a waterproof jacket - especially if you want to take a close look at the waterfalls!

How can you help?

Deforestation is a huge problem facing our world today. It’s responsible for around 8-10% of carbon emissions, and it displaces and destroys natural ecosystems and habitats.

Whilst nature spots in the UK are protected by trusts, there’s still things you can do to help protect our forest domestically and world wide.

For example, you can donate to organisations which combat deforestation internationally.

But you can also volunteer to help clean your local nature spots, recycle your waste, and use more recycled products.

At Sprayway, we’re dedicated to sustainability and partner with organisations helping to maintain the natural beauty our country and environment has.

Looking to head out and explore some nearby woodlands? Take a look at our collection of products for something to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable on your next adventure.